« ZurückWeiter »
Gentlewoman, in her Opinion, to prepare a Rock full of Tow, Flax or Wool, either for the Work of her own Hands, or the Task of her Maid-Servants; who cannot be half so well imploy'd in any other useless Vanities, or newfashiond Fooleries. What Harm can there be in making ready such notable homely Utensils, fit for Business in Families ? Carding, Spinning or Weaving, &c. are no such disgraceful Operations. They will neither spoil their Beauties, nor hinder their Marriages. A well-furnish'd Rock heretofore in a Woman's Breaft, was esteem'd a good Guard against Idleness, and us'd to be reckond in former Days, an honourable Badge of her Industry and Virtue. It was thought a noble Mark of her honest Housewif'ry, as well as the Innocency of her Imploya ment. It was an ocular Demonstration of her Humility and Submislion of Mind. In the Ation it self, she has an excellent Leffon of Wifdom, as well as a Task of Work set her by the Undertaking. She may, in some Measure, read her own Destiny by its Meditation. It is a sort of an Oracle, to awake her into a Watchfulness of her Duty. It puts her in mind both of Morality and Religion. It calls to her Remembrance, her precious Time, past, present and to come ; how it has been, or is, or ought to be spent for the future in good Works. It is a perfect Embleme of accomplishing all our La. bours and finishing our Lives. It makes her continually ruminate upon the Fable of the Three Sister. Ladies of Fate ; Lachesis, for holding the Distaff of Life ; Clotho, for managing the Spindle of it ; and Atropos, for cutting off the Thread that is Spun : or at least it puts her upon studying how to make her self the happy Morab
dying hown: or at least cutting of the Spindle
nicest Carheel, the canons and circu.
of it; by avoiding any fatal Miscarriages, and Spinning out her Days to the greatest Length. For while she pulls out the Threads at Work, she cannot but consider the Shortness of humane Life; and that it is soon broken-off from the Distaff by any little Accident, without the strictest Rem gard and nicest Care. And again, while she turns the Spinning-Wheel, she cannot but recollect the various Chances, Changes, and Circulations of fickle Fortune, whirling about in a continual Round of Ops and Downs in the World : and who knows but she may be better provided for before the dies, by her remarkable Diligence. In fine, they are Both the best Memorandums, either of prolonging her 'Life, or making her own Fortune and Preferment. But the wonderful different Motions, Movements and Vicissitudes of sublunary Things, easily perswade her to fix her Thoughts upon Better, or more permanent Blessings above the Moon.
II. A Person of more than ordinary Worth also, as a prudent Mother of a Family, need not be asham'd of taking the Spindle into her curious Hand. It can be deem'd no Disgrace to her Honour and Excellency, to imploy Her self or handy Servant-Maids in spinning either Linen or Woollen-Garments, necessary for her Houshold; or in making some finer Things fit for her own Wearing and modest Attire. No. thing can be more useful or serviceable, than home-made Cloth ; let the Admirers of Foreign
Stuff say what they will, to please their Fancies. Where's the Difficulty; where's the Disadvantage ; where's the Dishonour at last of fiich beneficial Handy-Crafts? Let common Reason de.
termine the Question. Will the Spindle hurt · either their Maid's tender Hands or delicate
Faces? Will it deprave them ; will it defile them; will it depreciate them in the Event ? No; fach nice Handy-works as may be done, either with the Spindle or the Needle, will rather recommend them to better Fortune. Let our lazy Servants consider. Did Spinning ever impoverish any working Woman? Did it ever distem per her Body, disturb her Mind, or debauch her Morals? It rather keeps her out of Idleness; which is the very Mother of most Mifchiefs, Misfortunes and ill Manners. However, our virtuous Spinster, well remembring the Story of the afore-mention'd fatal Destinies, moralızes che Fi&tion, and thinks the Meanness of the Office no Discouragement, frim undertaking fo good a Manufakture, or promoting so great a Trade at Home; neither does she look upon it to be any Degradation of her Dignity, or Disgrace fufficient to fully her fuperiour Glories. But she will be still doing some such fort of ingenious Work or other, to make a right Use of her Life ; like the laborious SilkWorm, one of the greatest Wonders of the Creation, as well as a lively Embleme of the last glorious Refurre&tion : perpetually Spinning out her own Bowels, to cover the Nakedneis of hr Family, and cloath her Children with the richest Attire she can afford to adorn their Bodies, or beautify their personal Appearance.
ALL Misconstruction apart! Far be it from my Design here to prescribe any mechanical Practices, Professions or Servilities to Ladies of the greatest Eminence, Honour and Nobility! How ridiculous would it be to imagine, that Persons of the highest Quality by Birth; descend. ed peradventure from some Royal Race, of famous Extract and memorable Antiquity;
Thould ever condescend to the vulgar Exercises of the Distaff and Spindle! Such vile paltry Vo. cations are below their Virtues, and proper only for their Vasals. Those dull heavy Arts would never suit their Delicacies of Nature; Tendernesses of Nurture, or Softnefles of Constitua tion. It is none of my Business, either to direct their Excellencies, or correct their Indolences of domestick Administration. Their Government is above our private Sphere. But however, with Submission, they might incourage such useful Occupations more in their Families among their idle Servants, without any Reflection. Honest Manufactures of any serviceable Kind, for publick Use, would keep them well imploy'd. Beta ter Instruction, and more Experience in spine ning, or making of Cloth for several Sorts of Apparel, would do their Understandings no Härm. It would neither impair their Health, n'or destroy their Strength; neither prejudice their Judgments, nor corrupt their Virtues, nor spoil their Fortunes : but only ingage the useless Part of their Lives, in improving and ad. váncing the Products of our Native Country, into the best Handy-Works, from the Spinner's Wheel, or the Weaver's Loom. Those commendable Operations are neither improper for inferiour Persons, nor impracticable. They have Time enough to spare, which ought to be spent in such valuable Productions, or some other profitable Imployments for the publick Good.
VERSE XX. 3 SHE stretcheth out her Hand to the Poor
yea, foe reacheth forth her Hands to the
in this we her upo huo herce upon time
PARÁ PHR AS E. QU Ý this we see, that Virtue does not
only put her upon getting all the
| Wealth she can by her excellent A S HandyWorks, but likewise upon gi
ving out of her honest Gains to the Poor, with the greatest Liberality. . Her forwardness appears no less considerable in relieving indigent People abroad, than it does by inriching those of her own Houshold. She supa plies all their Wants, with Bounty and Chearfulness, to the utmost of her Power : and her Charity does not only succour those needy Souls that live near her Person, but reaches those also, that are at a remoter Distance from her Habitation. Her kind Hand is always stretched out to help them upon Sight, as the most moving Objects of her singular Goodness and Compassion. She puts her Arm remarkably upon the Stretch, for their present and immediate Relief; which shews the Readiness of her Mind, to support those poor helpless Creatures. Nay, she often reaches forth both her bountiful Hands, far and near, to aslist the Distressed : extending them absolutely out of an Eagerness of Zeal, and a passionate Regard for their Miseries; either to comfort their Sorrows, heal their Sores,